Looking to bring high-speed broadband to coax-filled multi-dwelling units in popular Japanese cities like Tokyo, service provider KDDI will deploy Nokia's gigabit Gfast solution in its commercial network.
Called "au Hikari MDU Type G," Fujitsu's Gfast solution interoperates with Japan's VDSL2 technology (as well as international VDSL standards) so KDDI can migrate to the faster, future-upgradeable copper-based technology. Nokia's offering will allow KDDI to deliver 830 Mbit/s combined uplink and downlink speeds, according to Nokia.
Deploying Gfast in Japan is challenging because of the "unique VDSL ecosystem and standards in place," said Teresa Mastrangelo, principal analyst at Broadband Trends, in a statement.
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Like other operators around the globe, KDDI combines fiber -- say fiber-to-the-curb or fiber-to-the-basement -- with existing coax. If MDU owners decide to deploy fiber throughout a building, they can build upon this initial fiber implementation, something they've already begun earning revenue from while reaping continued value from the copper wiring and swapping out customer premise equipment (CPE).
"Gfast continues to be a preferred choice for operators seeking to deliver gigabit broadband services to MDUs as it eliminates many of the issues found with FTTH deployments such as building types and access," Mastrangelo said. "This win is another great example for how Gfast technology is being used to quickly address customers need for greater broadband speeds."
Fiber-to-the-home customers receive 10 Gbit/s from KDDI and the service provider wanted to deliver high speeds to apartment-dwellers as well, said Shigenari Saito, administrative officer and general manager of KDDI's Network Technology Development Division, Technology Sector.
"Nokia's Gfast solution enables us to connect existing 100Mbps users and new Gfast users under the same DPU (distribution point unit)," Saito said. "This gives us the flexibility and economical path to meet the customer's demands for higher speed."
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The MDU market continues to face fierce competition among service providers due to tech-savvy residents (i.e., millennials), demand from building owners and management companies, plus the favorable economics of bulk contracts. However, no MDUs are the same, so service providers must use multiple technologies and inconsistent deployment models, increasing operational complexity and rollout costs.
The MDU market itself is evolving as residents adopt smart-home technologies, generating rising demand for smart apartments with built-in connected thermostats, keyless entryways and doors, and video doorbells. This evolution presents both new challenges and opportunities. In other words, service providers must consider innovative service-delivery strategies to compete and win.
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